The living room is an important hub of the home. At the end of a long weekday, the whole family often congregates there to do homework, read, watch TV or play games. When friends and other family members visit on the weekends, things can
quickly become chaotic, especially with little kids running around, teenagers playing video games and adults chatting in the corner.

Even though living rooms are often large, with plenty of space to work with, it can be challenging to create a room that accommodates everyone’s needs, especially when people use it in so many different ways. Fortunately, making the right purchases, thinking creatively about storage and reconsidering the layout can help make your living room functional, relaxing and aesthetically pleasing.

Let some furniture do double duty. When the space you have isn’t quite enough, it’s important to find furniture that has more than one purpose. Double-duty furniture is a great way to conserve space and save money, especially with a large or growing family. Instead of buying a traditional sofa , invest in a sofa bed or daybed for overnight guests, including for a child’s sleepover friends. Find an ottoman with hidden storage for stashing extra blankets and throws while simultaneously having an extra seat on hand. Benches with room for wicker baskets and bins help with organization and seating, too.

Take advantage of corners. The center of a living room is often filled with sofas, armchairs, area rugs and coffee tables , so use the room’s corners to create individual nooks. In one corner, place a chaise longue, side table and table lamp for the readers in the family. In another corner, place a small computer table and laptop for gaming and homework. And for the adults, use one corner to house a bar cart stocked with all the essentials.

Go big with built-ins. As one of the most frequently used rooms in the house, living rooms often collect an abundance of books, electronics and knickknacks. Avoid turning it into a glorified storage unit by splurging on built-ins. Although they might be pricey, built-in cabinets, shelves and entertainment centers provide plenty of storage and give the impression of an organized, put-together room (even if that’s not the case). Built-ins also save space, so you won’t have to worry about finding room for a bookshelf, sideboard or media console.

Offer plenty of alternative seating. When you have a large group over during holidays or special events, it’s key to have enough seating for everyone. For a space-efficient option, use small ottomans, poufs and cubes, or even floor cushions and pillows when the crowd is extra large. Store benches along the perimeter of the room so they’re easy to grab and move during a party, and ensure you have a basic sofa (or two) and armchairs. For even more seating, store folding chairs in a nearby closet or take chairs from the dining room.

Bring in the accessories. There’s no need to skimp on the accessories, even when space is limited. Small things, such as colorful throw pillows, soft throws, shiny candleholders and trendy trays, can pack a very large punch and can help your space feel like home. Picture frames and wall art are great ways to personalize a room, and area rugs and curtains can add larger pops of color.